Police inaction moves to center of Uvalde shooting probe. Here’s what’s known so far

The actions — or more notably, the inaction — of a school district police chief and other law enforcement officers moved swiftly to the center of the investigation into this week’s shocking school shooting in Uvalde, Texas,

The delay in confronting the shooter — who was inside the school for more than an hour — could lead to discipline, lawsuits and even criminal charges against police.

The attack that left 19 children and two teachers dead in a fourth grade classroom was the nation’s deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade, and for three days police offered a confusing and sometimes contradictory timeline that drew public anger and frustration.

By Friday, authorities acknowledged that students and teachers repeatedly begged 911 operators for help while the police chief told more than a dozen officers to wait in a hallway at Robb Elementary School. Officials said he believed that the suspect was barricaded inside adjoining classrooms and that there was no longer an active attack.

The chief’s decision — and the officers’ apparent willingness to follow his directives against established active-shooter protocols — prompted questions about whether more lives were lost because officers did not act faster to stop the gunman, and who should be held responsible.

“In these cases, I think the court of public opinion is far worse than any court of law or police department administrative trial,” said Joe Giacalone, a retired New York police sergeant. “This has been handled so terribly on so many levels, there will be a sacrificial lamb here or there.”

As the gunman fired at students, law enforcement officers from other agencies urged the school police chief to let them move in because children were in danger, two law enforcement officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they had not been authorized to talk publicly about the investigation.

One of the officials said audio recordings from the scene capture officers from other agencies telling the school police chief that the shooter was still active and that the priority was to stop him. But it wasn’t clear why the school chief ignored their warnings.

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Timeline

11:27 a.m. — Video footage shows a teacher at Robb Elementary propping open an exterior door. Ramos reportedly entered through this door.

11:28 a.m. — Ramos’ vehicle crashes near the school. A teacher ran back to a classroom to get a phone and came back to the door, allowing it to remain open. Two men, at a nearby funeral home, made their way to the crash scene where they saw Ramos exit the vehicle from the passenger side with a gun and backpack. The witnesses reportedly began running and Ramos tried shooting at them.

11:30 a.m. — 911 receives a phone call that there was a man who crashed his vehicle and has a gun.

11:31 a.m. — Ramos “reaches the last row of vehicles in the school parking lot,” McCraw said. The 18-year-old began shooting at the school, while police responded to the funeral home. McCraw adds that previous statements that officers confronted Ramos were inaccurate, and that an officer who heard the 911 call “drove immediately to the area he thought was the man with the gun, to the back of the school, which turned out to be a teacher.” McCraw said the officer drove by the suspect, who was “hunkered down behind a vehicle.”

11:32 a.m. — Ramos fires multiple shots at the school from outside, then enters the building.

11:33 a.m. — Ramos begins shooting in a classroom. McCraw says audio evidence from video footage shows Ramos shooting over 100 rounds.

11:35 a.m. — Three officers enter the school through the same doors that Ramos reportedly entered. Later, four more officers joined. The initial three officers were shot at, and some were grazed by bullets. Ramos shut the door to the classroom.

11:37 a.m. — Over 16 rounds are fired.

11:51 a.m. — More police begin to arrive.

12:03 p.m. — As many as 19 police officers were in the hallway outside the classroom. McCraw said they believed the active shooter situation had transitioned into a barricaded person call. A female caller dialed 911 from the classroom. The length of the call was less than 90 seconds. She said her name and said she was in classroom 112.

12:10 p.m. — The caller tells 911 that multiple people were dead.

12:13 p.m. — The female calls 911 again.

12:15 p.m. — More technicians arrive with shields.

12:16 p.m. — Female calls 911 again, adding that eight to nine students are still alive.

12:19 p.m. — Another person, in room 111 called 911. “She hung up when another student told her to hang up,” McCraw said.

12:21 p.m. — Suspect fires more shots at the door. Law enforcement moved down the hallway. A 911 call also captured three shots being fired.

12:36 p.m. — Another 911 call lasted for 21 seconds. The caller, a student, stayed on the line quietly. “She told 911 that he shot the door,” McCraw said, adding that the student asked 911 to “please send the police now.”

12:46 p.m. — Student tells 911 she can hear police next door.

12:50 p.m. — Officers breach the door using keys obtained from a janitor and kill the suspect.

12:51 p.m. — The 911 call was “loud” and “sounded like officers were moving children out of the room,” McCraw said.

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